February 19, 2021
Dear HSD Community:
This message is intended to address a few questions that we know are on many parents’ and Grade 6-12 teachers’ minds, specifically:
When will secondary students and staff return to school?
What will the schedule look like when HMS and HHS reopen?
What steps will be taken to ensure student and staff safety?
We are currently working through a “good news/bad news” situation. You are likely aware of the good news: Our county’s COVID infection rates have been dropping. The bad news is that they are dropping fast. Why is that bad news? Well, it is not as much bad as it is complicated...
The Hockinson Education Association (HEA) and HSD have developed a variety of reopening plans for a variety of different scenarios. In developing our plans for Grades 6-12, we followed state recommendations to reopen in phases like we did at HHES where we started with Kindergarten and added Grades 1-3 before finally welcoming Grades 4 and 5. We anticipated that the progression through these phases for Grades 6-12 would stretch over multiple weeks. But rates dropped rapidly - to the point where this week we nearly reached the case rate (200 cases per 100,000) necessary to reopen not only middle school, but high school as well!
Because each of these phases requires unique bus routing, staffing levels, safety preparations, and other logistics, it made sense to both the HEA and HSD to fast-forward through the sequence and coordinate the reopening of HMS and HHS under a Full Day Hybrid model. Given our current state guidelines a Full Day Hybrid is the final phase in our reopening plan.
Launching a Full Day Hybrid at two buildings at the same time required us to shift our plans. Every phase necessitates a new agreement on safety preparations and working conditions. We know this entire process has taken longer than expected. But we are excited about the benefits of the end result, namely:
Two days of in-person learning for students per week
Teachers and families having to only plan and schedule for one instructional model
Coordinated HMS and HHS schedules (start/end times and last name alpha)
Fewer disruptions with bus routing and pick up
A strong bridge from remote learning to traditional in-person instruction
A comprehensive safety plan to protect student and staff health
In providing in-person services to students in our Special Education and English Language Learner programs and, most recently, to our elementary students we have learned that every carefully-crafted plan requires adjustments. HSD and HEA leaders are currently ironing out the final details of our Grade 6-12 reopening plan and we are determined to work together to ensure a safe and positive reopening experience for our staff, students, and families. We will update you when as soon as the plan is completed and ratified. Additional details on school reopening will be shared by each school’s administrators soon thereafter.
Hockinson School District
Hockinson Education Association
Q: Isn’t reopening based on infection rate (eg 350/100k/14 days for middle school and 200/100k/14 days for high school)?
A: Our reopening plans followed the state’s recommendation to reopen in phases once our county reached certain metrics, one of which was case rate per 100,000 in population (as well as trend in hospital admission rate, percent of ICU occupancy, percent positivity). Our percent positivity had been elevated in January but data was recently revised, putting it below the required 10% threshold.
Q: What were the original reopening phases?
A: The middle school followed this sequence: Home Base, Half Day Hybrid, and ultimately a Full Day Hybrid - all phased in by grade level (eg, Grade 6 Week 1, Grade 7 Week 2, etc). The high school sequence was: Academic intervention, Half Day Hybrid, and Full Day Hybrid.
Q: Will all grades return at the same time?
A: At this time we are planning on Grades 6 and 9 returning first and adding the rest of the grades over the following week.
Q: Will HHS and HMS start and end at the same times as last year?
A: For the most part. Anticipated start/end times are:
HHS: 9 am - 3:30 pm and HMS 9:10 am - 3:40 pm.
Q: How will I know which bus my student will take to/from school?
A: Secondary bus routes will be shared with families via email and Facebook. They will also be available on our website.
Q: How will I know which days my student will attend school?
A: Your student’s school will send out that information. We anticipate that schools will divide student populations into two groups based on their last name and/or household. Currently, those two groups are: A-L and M-Z.
Q: What safety measures have been implemented at the schools?
A: Schools will follow these COVID safety measures to minimize the risk of COVID transmission by staff and students:
• Advertising via different media and enforcing COVID safety protocols:
Daily health screenings and monthly attestations for students; daily attestations for staff; hand hygiene; enhanced cleaning; face coverings and other protective equipment; social distancing; improved ventilation; and isolation of staff and students exhibiting COVID symptoms.
teachers with face coverings, such as KN 95 masks.
classrooms with cleaning supplies (alcohol wipes, nitrile gloves, cleaning cloth, disinfectant, and hand sanitizer.)
school with MERV 13 air filters and hand sanitizing stations at multiple entrances.
• Increasing custodial support as students and staff have returned to our schools.
• Arranging student desks or workstations to provide six feet of distance between students and turning desks to face in the same direction to reduce virus transmission.
• Reducing the number of students at tables, lab benches, or other workstations to increase physical distance.
• Reducing the number of students in the halls and restrooms at one time by marking one-way traffic flow and designating entrances and exits to minimize face-to-face contact.
• Allowing students to bring belongings to the classroom and store them in a personal cubby or container to reduce the use of lockers.
• Reducing congestion in the health office (by designating a COVID isolation room in addition to a health office for general health support.)
• Placing decals and other markers to designage six feet of social distancing in areas where students may wait in line, such as health screening locations, restrooms, hand washing or sanitizing stations, classroom doors, and the cafeteria. (Water fountains are closed.)
• Modifying classes where students are likely to be in very close contact. Physical Education will modify activities and hold them outside whenever possible. Limiting use of locker rooms to handwashing and restroom use only.
• Taking extra precautions for activities considered high-risk, such as choir, playing of instruments involving breath, sports or other activities that require students to remove face coverings and/or be in close contact with one another.
• Educating staff, students, and their families on COVID transmission and safety protocols.
• Keeping students outside as much as weather permits.
• Cancelling large, in-person activities such as field trips, student assemblies, parent informational nights, or spirit nights.